Transportation Agency Practices Currently Employed for Bridge Maintenance Painting Operations: Findings from a National Survey

Determining the extent of coating deterioration and prioritizing maintenance painting projects state-wide can be a daunting task, particularly in states with more severe or dynamic climates. An accurate, representative and thorough assessment of the coating conditions provides the necessary information for prioritizing bridge painting projects and for determining the most cost effective maintenance strategies on a bridge-specific basis. Selection of optimum coating materials and corresponding levels of surface preparation are of critical importance in protecting bridge and highway structures from corrosion and for addressing aesthetics. In addition, none of the results of the assessments are of value unless communicated effectively through a guidance document that can be used by agency personnel for maintenance painting planning and painting operations. The first objective of this research was to conduct a Transportation Research Synthesis (TRS) on behalf of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to determine policies, guidance, and manuals related to best practices for bridge maintenance painting operations that can be performed by agency personnel that are currently employed by representative Transportation Agencies. A questionnaire was prepared and distributed to fifty-two Transportation Agencies via a survey tool to determine common practices used by the agencies for maintenance painting of steel bridges. The survey contained questions in five topic areas such as evaluation of existing coating system conditions, maintenance painting practices, surface preparation standards used and coating systems employed for repair to existing coatings or replacement of existing coatings. The final task area inquired about Agency use of in-house maintenance personnel and independent industrial painting companies for maintenance painting. The second objective was to identify the best practices appropriate for the MnDOT from the results of the synthesis in order to develop a state-wide bridge maintenance painting program. The principal areas of study included guidance for conducting coating condition assessments on existing structures and guidance for developing maintenance strategies based on the condition and characteristics of the existing coating systems. Among key decision points addressed were: prioritizing structures for maintenance painting, determining the scope of maintenance painting projects and establishing the necessary degree(s) of surface preparation, selecting coating systems, and compatibility with existing systems when overcoating.


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  • Accession Number: 01600669
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: May 25 2016 12:34PM